A leader of the caucus of the APC has revealed why the leaders of the party including Buhari who were in the opposition in 2012, opposed the removal of fuel subsidy by the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
APC candidate, Muhammadu Buhari during a Presidential campaign rally
Speaking on Monday while addressing the APC Zonal Women Summit in Enugu, the spokesperson of the South East Caucus of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Osita Okechukwu, said that leaders of the party who were in the opposition in 2012, opposed the removal of fuel subsidy by the Goodluck Jonathan administration because of the profligacy of that administration.
It can be recalled that the leaders of the APC who were then in different opposition parties, including the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, Congress for Progressives Congress, All Nigeria Peoples Party and All Progressive Grand Alliance, protested the plan, and following the protest that lasted some days, Jonathan was forced to reverse the decision.
Okechukwu while commenting on last week’s decision by the federal government to increase the pump price of fuel from N86.50k to N145 per litre, said it was also common knowledge that in 2012, members and leadership of the APC opposed the fuel price hike or removal of subsidy because the actors in the Jonathan administration were extravagant.
He also said though President Muhammadu Buhari initially opposed and campaigned against fuel subsidy removal, he changed his mind because of the reality of the present time.
“The Fuel Price Hike is a painful and difficult decision. The pain is that there is no official dollars to sustain the huge bill. President Muhammadu Buhari took pains to accept the proposal he had opposed as far back as his first stint as Head of State – 1984 – 1985.
“It is also common knowledge that in 2012, members and leadership of our great party, the APC, opposed the fuel price hike or removal of subsidy.
“In the same vein, Mr President opposed it even in his second coming as president and campaigned repeatedly against it. True, we rejected fuel price hike then, basically because of the profligacy of the ex-regime. Hold us responsible if we squander money saved,” he said.
Okechukwu called on the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress not to go on strike to protest the increase in fuel price, adding that the mass protest would not only hamper the distribution of goods and services in the country but worsen the condition of the masses.
The APC chieftain explained that the new pump price introduced has the prospect of cutting down waste in the nearest future and also to make fuel available.
“My Dear Compatriots, you must agree with me that what made Mr. President to accept fuel price hike in the midst of abject poverty in the land, despair and despondency; is nothing but the crunchy and dire financial situation – where it is difficult for local, state and federal governments to pay salaries.
“We all know that this is a president who never placed personal gains over public good and who will never squander our commonwealth. The true position is that the dwindling oil price and recent militant attack on oil installations have gravely rendered Federal Government cash strapped.
“Nigeria is at cross-road. Coupled with what the former Minister of Finance and Coordinator of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala dubbed lack of political will to save for the rainy day by the (Goodluck) Jonathan regime, which in simplicita means that we are paying for the sins of crass failure to plan and squandermania of the regime she coordinated,” he said.